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Refinery news: Chevron to co-process biofeed at El Segundo's FCC

New York — Chevron plans to run biofeed in conjunction with other feed through the gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracking unit at its 269,000 b/d El Segundo, California, refinery as it looks to reduce carbon intensity of its fuels, a company executive said Tuesday.

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"You'll see that in California later this year, we will begin co-processing bio feed in an FCC, making Chevron the first in our industry to do so," said Mark Nelson, Chevron's head of downstream and chemicals, at the company's analyst day in New York.

Chevron's El Segundo refinery has 73,800 b/d of fluid catalytic cracking capacity, and is a key supplier of gasoline to the Los Angeles area. It has the infrastructure to allow it to use bio-feedstocks and other co-feeds reliably, taking advantage of existing capital investment.

No firm time frame was given for when the project would start nor were any volumes or type of feeds to be used disclosed at the meeting.

"We're partnering with regulators on moving forward with this, and a number of feedstocks will be considered, including soy," company spokesman Braden Reddall said.

Chevron said by increasing production of renewables they are supporting their core businesses.

"We're not pursuing renewables as a separate business because we see more value in connecting renewables with our core operations. So whether it's wind power in the Permian or solar to our steam floods or biofuels in California, our renewable activities support our primary upstream and downstream businesses and do so economically," said Pierre Breber, Chevron's CFO.

"The third focus area is our investment in future technologies. Successfully addressing climate change will require technology breakthroughs," Breber added.

In 2018, Chevron established the Chevron Future Energy Fund with an initial commitment of $100 million to invest in breakthrough technologies that enable the ongoing energy transition.

Chevron's other downstream projects to cut carbon intensity includes a partnership with Novvi to produce high-performance base oils from renewable sources and CalBioGas to capture dairy biomethane as a fuel for heavy-duty vehicles, Nelson said.

In 2018, Chevron teamed up with Novvi LLC "to jointly develop and bring to market novel renewable base oil technologies," according to the press release at that time.

Last year, CalBioGas LLC secured funding from Chevron to build infrastructure for dairy biomethane projects in California's San Joaquin Valley, adding to the investment from dozens of dairy farmers. Chevron will also provide services to bring this product into the California vehicle fuels market.